Some are questioning whether small local businesses need a Google+ page after redesign drops display of listing information.
Local business reviews didn’t make the cut in Google’s wholesale revamp of Google+.
Google+’s redesign, announced last week, puts the focus on Communities and Collections and removes display of reviews and other local business information such as addresses, phone numbers and hours of operation.
Here’s a before-and-after look at the Google+ page of a small business in West Hempstead, N.Y.:
The change appears to be permanent. “Reviews will no longer be shown on Google+ Pages in the new Google+ design,” Elizabeth Powers, a Google community manager, wrote in a Google My Business help forum. “Reviews are still accessible on Google Search and Maps which have always been the primary way that users find business reviews.”
This move seems to signal that Google is giving up on efforts to encourage small businesses to create and maintain presences on Google+. Management of directory listing information — including the ability to respond to reviews — is handled separately in Google My Business. Unless a business has a strategy to share content with customers and potential customers, there no longer seems to be reason to ask people to visit a business page on Google+.
One local search marketing expert says that message is clear. Mike Blumenthal writes:
Over the past two years I have discussed the parting of the ways between local and Plus but through all of that Google had retained the essence of tabbed business pages and given the owner the ability to add a description, photos, videos and provided a place to send customers to see and leave their reviews.
That is all gone. In focusing on content, communities and collections Google has hung out a new and bold sign.
If you haven’t gotten the message yet it should finally be clear in the release of their new and improved G+: BUSINESS UNWELCOME.
Among the issues most confusing to small business owners, Blumenthal and others in the comments on his post point out, is the lack of a foolproof place to point customers to submit reviews.
Previously, that place was a business’s Google+ Page. Now, it’s more complicated. Linda Buquet has good overview of some of the options.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)